We ran a poll earlier this year which asked what cutting tools you carry in your survival kit — a knife, an axe, a saw, or some combination of these tools. Of those who responded, 60% said that they carry a saw along with their other wilderness gear, while 72% carry an axe and 98% carry a knife. While a saw may not be the most popular of the cutting tools, it’s extremely useful in heavily-forested areas, and can be used to quickly and cleanly cut everything from small kindling branches to larger saplings.

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Woodworking is easier with a saw, as they can produce flat and even surfaces with little effort.

Like any tool, a saw may eventually break under frequent use, especially if it’s a compact and portable folding saw. For survivalists, throwing away broken gear isn’t an option, so it’s important to consider how to MacGyver your way to the best possible fix. With a little ingenuity and basic materials, the folding saw can be repaired in the field. In fact, it can even be modified for extended reach and leverage.

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Survival Russia shows how a shallow notch in a branch can create a strong saw handle.

In the following video, Survival Russia shows a folding saw blade that was broken by a family member, and takes on the task of repairing it in the field. First, he tries gripping the blade between his fingers to notch a new handle, but the metal is too slippery to hold. Then he wraps the teeth in birch bark for some temporary protection, but the blade still draws blood.

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Fortunately, his pain wasn’t in vain, as he’s able to notch a branch and bind the blade into the notch with some steel wire.

The fix may not be elegant, but field-expedient repairs rarely are. What matters is that the broken saw was turned from a jagged scrap of metal into a usable woodworking tool with minimal resources. If you carry a folding saw in your survival kit, you may want to also consider carrying some steel wire for this purpose, since paracord may eventually be cut as the saw blade shifts. Even if your saw doesn’t break, you’ll be able to use the wire for other purposes, such as fashioning snares.

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